Is your stream stressed?
Identifying factors that harm fish and other stream life is a key part of the watershed restoration and protection projects being carried out by the MPCA under Minnesota’s Clean Water Legacy Amendment.
The MPCA will be working in several streams throughout Minnesota each year to gauge streams health. Many streams suffer from stressors that harm fish and other aquatic life. These stressors may also affect recreation such as swimming and fishing.
Elements of stream health
The MPCA and local partners examine several interrelated factors to identify stressors. The goal is to maintain conditions in healthy streams and fix problems in unhealthy streams.
The agency studies the following factors and the relationship among them:
• Stream connections, such as dams, culverts and tile drainage
• Hydrology, including stream flow and runoff
• Stream biology, such as fish and bugs
• Water chemistry, including oxygen levels, nutrient levels and temperature
• Stream channel assessment, mainly erosion
What conditions stress our streams?
Too much sediment
Soil and other matter in water can make it hard for fish and other aquatic life to breathe, feed and reproduce. Sediment can also cover spawning areas and fill in parts of streams.
Aquatic life needs oxygen dissolved in the water to breathe and survive.
Stream temperature affects metabolism and the ability to get oxygen, especially for species such as trout.
Lack of habitat
Habitat affects all aspects of survival for fish and other aquatic life. Habitat encompasses places to live, food to eat, places to reproduce and means of protection.
Too many nutrients
Excess nutrients, such as phosphorus and nitrates, can be toxic to aquatic life and cause algal blooms.
Local partners may find this technical guidance useful for stressor identification workStressor Identification Technical Guidance
Stressor reports available
- Yellow Medicine River Watershed Biotic Stressor Identification
- Hawk Creek Watershed Biotic Stressor Identification
- Mississippi River-Lake Pepin Tributaries Biotic Stressor Identification
- Mud Creek Stressor Identification Report
- Anne River TMDL Project Stressor Identification Report
- Sauk River Watershed Stressor Identification Report
- Bluff Creek TMDL Biological Stressor Identification
- Pomme de Terre River Watershed Biotic Stressor Identification Study
- Brown's Creek Impaired Biota TMDL - Stressor Identification
- Shingle Creek and Bass Creek Biotic Integrity Stressor ID
- Little Rock Creek Stressor ID Report
- Mississippi River-St. Cloud Stressor Identification Report